“I tell my students, you do not enter the future – you create the future. The future is achieved through hard work.” ~ Jaime Escalante
Category Archives: Mr. Adair’s Classroom
“Where do we begin Mr. Adair?”
“At the beginning, ” he said. And throughout the year that I was under his tutelage – he would continue to challenge me to, “Never stop searching for truth.” In this endeavor, we provide – once again – the writings of many writers – many of whom I have known for years – providing historical lessons of import and understanding – little of which is addressed in our “classrooms” today.
On Nov. 19, 1863, at the dedication of the military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, President Abraham Lincoln spoke these words:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. Continue reading →
Because of the US Supreme Court, the 14th Amendment’s greatest impact is not the protection of citizens’ rights, though it is cited for that purpose. It is and has been the granting of human rights to corporations – an exercise not founded in the Constitution itself nor in the Amendment itself, nor in any other part of the Constitution. It was an extension of power to corporations that the Court, without any explicit foundation, allowed to be promulgated in a summary of its 1886 decision in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railway by the Court’s reporter. Continue reading →
Gold speculators in New York. (image from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, May 7, 1964)
It was May, 1864. Grant was closing in on Lee in Virginia. New Yorkers were growing hopeful that the long, terrible ordeal of the Civil War would soon be over.
But their hopes were dashed when on Wednesday, May 18 they read in two of their morning papers, the New York World and the Journal of Commerce, that President Lincoln had issued a proclamation ordering the conscription of an additional 400,000 men into the Union army on account of “the situation in Virginia, the disaster at Red River, the delay at Charleston, and the general state of the country.” Continue reading →
James Monroe (c. 1819) by Samuel Morse (1791-1872)
Whatever his failings as an imaginative thinker, President James Monroe’s own convictions were rooted deeply in the spirit and the letter of the U.S. Constitution. As he entered the White House in March 1817, he had little (well, less) use for James Madison’s newfound love of nationalism. While he entered the presidency too late to stop the Second Bank of the United States from forming, he could and did make sure that the government’s role in creating public works was limited. If the people truly wanted the government building more canals and roads, he thought, they would need to get an amendment to the Constitution passed, as the Constitution of 1787 did not allow for such things, he believed. And, though a Virginian and in sympathy with many of the Old Republican beliefs of John Randolph of Roanoke and John Taylor of Caroline, he was not one of them, and he feared the creation of any parties or factions. Continue reading →
Considered to be one of the most famous 20th-century scientists, Marie Curie is the only person to win two Nobel prizes in two different fields. Defying the expectations for what a woman should be during her time, Curie paved the way for our understanding of radioactivity. She also discovered two new elements, but not without paying a horrific price… Continue reading →
Munition workers painting shells at the National Shell Filling Factory No.6, Chilwell, Nottinghamshire in 1917. This was one of the largest shell factories in the country, circa 1917. (Photo by Horace Nicholls/ Imperial War Museums)
As they did over a century ago ahead of World War I, the Merchants of Death thrive behind a veil of duplicity and slick media campaigns.
The senseless slaughter of World War I began with the murder of a single man, a Crown Prince of a European empire whose name no one was particularly familiar with at the time. Archduke Franz Ferdinand Carl Ludwig Joseph Maria was the presumptive heir to the Austrian-Hungarian empire in June of 1914.
His assassin was a young Bosnian Serb student and the murder of the Crown Prince set off a cataclysmic series of events resulting in the deaths of over 20 million people, half of whom were civilians. An additional 20 million people were wounded. Continue reading →
In a recent column, I discussed an argument about secession made by Abraham Lincoln and sympathetically expounded by Michael P. Zuckert in his important book A Nation So Conceived. Lincoln maintained that a nation once formed could not allow secession because doing so would open it to unlimited fissiparous tendencies, culminating in anarchy. This argument did not address the problem of slavery, surely relevant to the concrete circumstances of the Civil War. Zuckert has a suggestive, though in my view mistaken, discussion of Lincoln’s view of secession and slavery, and in this week’s article, I’ll try to explain Zuckert’s position and the difficulties he faces defending it.
Zuckert’s position is this: Lincoln considered slavery to be morally wrong and contrary to the Declaration of Independence, which he took to state universally valid truths that were binding on the American nation. Continue reading →
I was nearly four months old at the time of this man’s passing. I am proud to have been alive during his waning days. May he be resting in piece. ~ Editor
Julius Franklin Howell (January 17, 1846 – June 19, 1948) joined the Confederate Army when he was 16. After surviving a few battles, he eventually found himself in a Union prison camp at Point Lookout, Maryland. In 1947, at the age of 101, Howell made this recording at the Library of Congress. Continue reading →
With inflation, prices, and bank failures all on the rise these days, many of us are looking anxiously toward our pocketbooks and wondering what we’ll do when the financial crisis inevitably hits. Will we have to start over with our retirement fund, or will we be impoverished in a matter of months?
There may not be a surefire way to completely shield ourselves from potential ruin, but there are ways to safeguard against it. One of those ways is tucked away in an obscure corner of American founder Noah Webster’s American Spelling Book. Entitled “Domestic Economy Or, the History of Thrifty and Unthrifty,” Webster (1758-1843) spins the tale of two men, the one a financial wizard, the other a financial failure. Continue reading →
The War of Northern Aggression aka the Civil War had many reasons, economic (tariffs), constitutional (states rights), and even conspiratorial. There were certain people, both north and South of Mason-Dixon that had as their objective the destruction of the Constitutional Republic the Founders gave us. Abraham Lincoln was one of these. And the idea of a One World Government was not new, even in 1860. Continue reading →
Colonists didn’t just take up arms against the British out of the blue. A series of events escalated tensions that culminated in America’s war for independence.
The Battle of Bennington
The American colonists’ breakup with the British Empire in 1776 wasn’t a sudden, impetuous act. Instead, the banding together of the 13 colonies to fight and win a war of independence against the Crown was the culmination of a series of events, which had begun more than a decade earlier. Escalations began shortly after the end of the French and Indian War – known elsewhere as the Seven Years War in 1763. Here are a few of the pivotal moments that led to the American Revolution. Continue reading →
Curse tablet cursing Priscilla from Groß-Gerau: The lead tablet consists of three fragments and is inscribed on both sides with a prayer for revenge in Latin. It probably dates from around 100 AD – Image Credit : René Müller/LEIZA
The Book of Revelation is the final book of the New Testament, spanning three literary genres: the epistolary, the apocalyptic, and the prophetic. The book is traditionally believed to have been written sometime during the 1st century AD, although the precise identity of the author (who names himself simply as “John”) has long been a point of academic debate.
During antiquity, curse tablets were very common in the Greco-Roman world, where they would be used to ask the gods, spirits, or the deceased to perform an action on a person or object, or otherwise compel the subject of the curse. Continue reading →
We had our American Revolution over two centuries ago and the years have done something to it. The legends remain, and the statues and the grassy earthworks and the great body of tradition, but a good deal of the reality has been filtered out – revised! When we look back to see Washington crossing the Delaware on a cold winter night, or kneeling in prayer in the snow of Valley Forge; we see the Minutemen, or a lanky Virginian rifleman picturesque in fringed buckskin; but somehow it all seems out of a pageant, and neither Washington nor the men who followed him quite come alive for us. Continue reading →
The Stamp Act of 1765 was the first internal tax levied directly on American colonists by the British Parliament. The act, which imposed a tax on all paper documents in the colonies, came at a time when the British Empire was deep in debt from the Seven Years’ War (1756-63) and looking to its North American colonies as a revenue source.
Arguing that only their own representative assemblies could tax them, the colonists insisted that the act was unconstitutional, and they resorted to mob violence to intimidate stamp collectors into resigning. Parliament passed the Stamp Act on March 22, 1765 and repealed it in 1766, but issued a Declaratory Act at the same time to reaffirm its authority to pass any colonial legislation it saw fit. The issues of taxation and representation raised by the Stamp Act strained relations with the colonies to the point that, 10 years later, the colonists rose in armed rebellion against the British. Continue reading →